First Philippine Holdings established Philec in 1969 to serve the Philippines’ electrical distribution transformer market, hence it was the first brand to be recognised in the country. Growth potential led to additional subsidiaries — First Electrodynamics Corporation, First Philec Manufacturing Technologies Corporation, and First Philippine Power Systems.

Ariel Ong became the president in 2009. At that time the business had hit a rough patch, so he immediately implemented a complete restructure, which brought about a huge transformation.

Under Ariel’s guidance there have been changes to the organisation’s management structure and company culture, and in 2012 it redesigned its manufacturing footprint, which led to a better, more cost-effective, and customer oriented set-up. With the transformation came the renaming of the brand to First Philec.

“There were three strategic pillars to be put in place,” Ariel explains. “One of the key changes as part of our strategic pillars was to make a new supply chain and manufacturing design footprint. We had to produce a more cost-effective, flexible, and service-oriented facility south of Manila, and we had to rationalise the high-cost parts of the business. That sounds pretty straightforward, but really, when people’s livelihoods and cost expectations are at stake, things can never be over simplified.

“The second pillar was about centralising our sales and marketing initiatives, and we made our customer policy more intensive — as we preach the gospel of being passionate about the customer experience. We said that we have to be absolute masters of the pain points of our customers — we need to know what they need before they even realise what those needs are.”